The beauty of Sangiovese in Morellino di Scansano

New York-based and Italocentric wine industry publicist Susannah Gold and Morellino di Scansano growers association president Giacomo Pondini led a tasting of seven expressions of Morellino di Scansano yesterday afternoon at Tony’s in Houston. Here are my highlights from the luncheon event.

According to its back label, the 2010 Morellino di Scansano by Roccapesta is mostly Sangiovese (Morellino) with a small amount of Ciliegiolo.

I loved the wine (look at the color!). From what Giacomo told me, its a newish winery launched by a Milanese entrepreneur who recently acquired an estate in Scansano. The aging is large cask and cement (music to my ears), he said.

It wasn’t my favorite in the flight (see below), lacking the focus it needs to achieve true greatness. But Roccapesta clearly has the right stuff: the materia prima is there and the attitude and approach are 100% right on. I’m really looking forward to following this winery and winemaker as they evolve.

If you’re pouring Roccapesta, please call me!

The 2010 Morellino di Scansano Brumaio by Pietramora is 100% Sangiovese and 150% awesome and delicious, one of the best expressions of Morellino that I’ve tasted in recent memory.

Just cast your gaze upon the gorgeous color of this wine!

It really captured what — to me — is the essence of Morellino: extreme freshness and dark berry fruit combined with a gentle gamey quality that evokes the maquisla macchia — of the Maremma.

I can only wonder if the proprietary name of the wine, Brumaio, is an oblique reference to Napoleon, who spent his last years in exile on the island of Elba off the Tuscan coast.

Brumaio, from the Latin bruma, is an ancient word for the winter solstice. But it’s also the name, brumaire in French, of the second month of autumn in the French Republican calendar.

Of course, it could also be an allusion to Karl Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.

But I digress…

It probably refers to the bruma (also called brumaio), the morning mist that covers the vineyards of Maremma in the fall as the grapes ripen.

Thanks again, Susannah and Giacomo, for bringing some great Morellino to Texas and for any excuse to revisit one of the greatest works by Marx!